Diadumenian as Augustus - Ultra Budget edition!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Trying to get caught up on recent purchases - won this one at Savoca, not fully described and missing the most important feature!

    Diadumenian as Augustus
    c. May 16 - June 8, 218 AD
    AE19 of Antioch, Syria
    KAI M O ΔI ANTΩNINOC CE, Cuirassed bust right
    SC within wreath, Δ above, E below Diadumenian as Augustus Antioch .jpg

    The history:

    Diadumenian was the young son of Macrinus, only about 9 or 10 years old during his father's short reign. He was granted the title of Caesar almost immediately upon his father taking power, but he was elevated to co-Augustus with his father in mid-May 218, upon hearing news of the revolt of loyalist forces who were proclaiming the future emperor Elagabalus as the rightful heir to the purple. Perhaps sensing the gravity of the situation, Macrinus realized that elevating his son to the rank of full Augustus would give his troops a rallying point for their loyalty should he fall in battle. Macrinus was killed in the aftermath of the Battle of Antioch (8 June 218) and Diadumenian was killed while loyal soldiers were attempting to smuggle him to exile in Parthia. There is limited historical documentation around his accession, but inferring from the dates, he was likely emperor for only 3 weeks; shorter than the reigns even of Gordian I and II.

    Curiously, a few coins exist from the Rome mint of Diadumenian as Augustus - probably minted on orders of Macrinus via a messenger who reached Rome only shortly before the news of his defeat. These are so rare as to be unobtainable - if the collector of average means wishes to own a Diadumenian as Augustus, it is necessary to turn to provincial. Provincial titulature is not as strict as Imperial, so attribution is not devoid of guesswork. Two possibilities exist:
    1) Some tetradrachms list AYT in his titles, short for Autokrator, the Greek equivalent of Imperator. Such a title is likely (but not strictly) limited to Emperors only, not their Caesars.
    2) Several coins such as this one also give a CE at the end of his titles, ostensibly short for Sebastos, the Greek equivalent of Augustus.

    Of the above, these bronze coins from Antioch are by far the more numerable, which based on his being in the city and the dire situation, were probably an emergency propaganda issue to try to scramble local support for the "true" emperors. On my coin in particular, the bust seems awkwardly shifted up to the center of the coin, and the CE crammed in the space below it. A single issue from the nearby Hieropolis displays the same, with a less ambiguous CEB squeezed in below the bust.

    Anyone have other examples out there? Let's see them!
    Andres2, Factor, Curtisimo and 20 others like this.
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  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Nice coin. Apparently only struck in a period of a few weeks.
    Finn235 likes this.
  4. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Nice pick up! Here's my Antiochene Diadumenian:

    Diadumenian (as Caesar), Circa 218 AD
    AE19, Syria, Antioch Mint

    Marcus Opellius Antoninus Diadumenianus, the Boy-Caesar, killed when he was 10 years old.
    Obverse: KAI M O ΔI ANTΩNԐINOC CԐ, bare-headed and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front.
    Reverse: Large S C; Δ above, Є below; all within laurel wreath of ten leaves, fastened with star at top.
    References: McAlee 745c
    Size: 19.5mm, 4.5g

    And one with his father and him:
    [​IMG]Macrinus and Diadumenian, Ruled 217-218 AD
    Syria, Antioch Mint

    Obverse: AVT K M O CE MAKPINOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Macrinus right, seen from behind.
    Reverse: KAI M Ο ΔΙΑ ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC C / S-C, bare-headed and cuirassed bust of Diadumenian right, seen from front.
    References: McAlee 742; Butcher 466
    Size: 17 mm, 3.77 g
    Ex: Savoca Coin Auction, 2nd Blue, Lot #925 (5-3-2019)
  5. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    "Anyone have other examples out there? Let's see them!"
    Diadumenian. 218 AD. Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch. Æ As (18mm). Obv: LAUREATE head, right, i.e., as Augustus. Rev: SC; Δ above, Ε below; all within laurel wreath. BMC 414; McAlee 753, "...struck in the final days of his reign."
    Edit: Just a “C” under the bust, rather than the OP’s coin with “CE.”
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
  6. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member


    A very nice example, but I am not so sure it was struck for Diadumenian as Augustus.

    Sometimes the title CEB was added to the obv. legend of Caesars on provincial coins, as for example on the Alexandrian tetradrachm of Diadumenian of Year 2 (after 31 Aug. 217), showing his bare-headed portrait on the obv. with legend

    MA OΠ AN ΔIAΔOYMENIANOC K CEB. See Sear, Greek Imperial Coins, 3033 with photo.

    Diadumenian's bronze coins at Antioch seem to have begun with rev. type Large S C, small Δ E above, eagle below, all in wreath, coupled with a bare-headed portrait of the Caesar and an obv. legend omitting CE, e.g.

    KAI O ΔIA ANTΩNINOC (McAlee 754).

    Later the eagle was omitted from the rev. type, and instead of ΔE above the large S C, the Δ was placed above and the E below. This new variant of the rev. type was coupled with three apparently successive obv. types, namely

    - Bare-headed, without CE, as before, e.g. McAlee 749.

    - Bare-headed, with CE, e.g. McAlee 745 and your coin.

    - Portrait laureate, legend beginning AVT KAI, with or without C for CEB at end, McAlee 753 and 743. See also PeteB's coin above, which is from the same obv. die as McAlee 753's illustrated specimen.

    This last variant, with laureate portrait and legend beginning AYT KAI, is very rare, and I think no one will doubt that, as McAlee states, it must have been struck after Diadumenian's proclamation as Augustus in May 218. Your variant with bare-headed portrait and obv. legend not beginning AVT, however, is Diadumenian's commonest bronze coin at Antioch and seems likely to have been struck while he was still only Caesar, despite the CE at the end of the obv. legend.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Great acquisition for your collection, @Finn235! Interesting bust style, too.

    I have one Diadumenian from Antioch.

    Diadumenian, Caesar AD 217-218.
    Roman provincial Æ 16.5 mm, 4.63 g, 11:00.
    Syria: Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch ad Orontem.
    Obv: ΚΑΙ Μ Ο ΔΙA ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC CЄ, bare-headed and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: Large SC, Δ/Є above and beneath; all within laurel wreath interrupted by star above.
    Refs: Sear 3017; BMC 20. 201,408; SNG Cop. 235; McAlee 745a.
    Notes: Reverse die match to McAlee plate coin.
  8. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Curtis.I do not have that book.
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Nice capture, @Finn235 ...

    RI Diadumenian 217-218 AE26 Nikopolis-Nicopolis ad Istrum Homonoia stdg
  10. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Thanks all!

    @curtislclay - I'll have to do some more reading on it. My reasoning for an issue as Augustus was that the Antiochene issues of Macrinus invariably end in either C or CE, whereas those of Diadumenian are about an even split, perhaps skewed more toward those without CE. But, if as you said the provincial mints were more liberal with their use of CEBACTOC on coinage, it may or may not indicate his capacity as co-Augustus. I do agree that the example posted by @PeteB is almost certainly an issue as Augustus and is an excellent coin!
    DonnaML and Spaniard like this.
  11. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Sorry, a bit late to the party. Here is my example, not sure of the exact attribution though:

  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    My one coin showing Diadumenian alone, as Caesar:

    Diadumenian Caesar, AE Tetrassarion (4 Assaria), 217-218 AD, Nicopolis ad Istrum [Nikyup, Bulgaria] Mint, Moesia Inferior, Statius Longinus, Consular Legate. Obv. Bareheaded bust of Diadumenian right, draped and armored, seen from behind, M OPEL DIADOV-MENIANOC K (OV ligate) [ = Marcus Opellius Diadumenianus, Caesar] / Rev. Artemis, wearing short chiton, walking right, holding bow in left hand and drawing arrow from quiver in right hand, hound jumping behind her left foot, VΠ CTA ΛONΓINOV NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I / CTPΩ in exergue [ = Consular legate Longinus, (Governor) of the residents of Nikopolis on the (river) Istros]. AMNG I/I 1843 [Pick, Behrendt, Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/I (Berlin, 1898) at p. 467]; Varbanov I 3743 [Varbanov, Ivan, Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior (English Edition) (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005) at p. 308]; Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov [Hristova, H., H.-J. Hoeft, & G. Jekov. The Coins of Moesia Inferior 1st - 3rd c. AD: Nicopolis ad Istrum (Blagoevgrad, 2015)].*

    Diadumenian-Artemis (Nikopolis ad Istrum) jpg version.jpg

    *Obverse die matches the die classified as Obverse Die No. 9 in table entitled “Nicopolis ad Istrum - 4 assaria - die matches” (see http://www.diadumenian.com/Die tables nicopolis 4 assaria.html). It is an obverse die match to the two coins depicted at http://www.diadumenian.com/Nicopolis artemis longinus.html, the second of which was sold at Gorny & Mosch, Giessener Münzhandlung Auction 121, 2005 Lot number: 300. Coin is also an obverse die match to, inter alia, the coins depicted at https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=17248 and http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?zpg=28570 .
    Andres2, Bing, Johndakerftw and 4 others like this.
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